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THE PRESIDENT'S SON by Krandall Kraus



Pub Date: June 1st, 1986
Publisher: Alyson

Sex, drugs and a TV-entertainer-turned-president are on the menu as Kraus, a former vice-presidential aide, serves up an occasionally palatable political thriller. President Donald Marshall is up for reelection and things look iffy at best. His pet program--the sale of an advanced defense system to the Sudan--faces defeat in the Senate. Various other candidates are doing well in the polls. And there's the humiliating secret that's dogged Marshall throughout his presidency: his only son, D.J., is gay. So far, Marshall's right--hand man (some say his brains) Thaddeus Billings has managed to keep this embarrassment under wraps. He married D.J. off to the understanding Elaine, and then sent him to the South of France with Terry, his blue-collar lover. But now D.J.'s needed to put in campaign appearances, so Billings orders him home. D.J. and Terry have a tearful parting in the V.I.P. lounge at Kennedy Airport, then D.J.'s whisked home to his loyal wife. Terry, kept away from DJ., is increasingly despondent. He turns to drugs and drops a hint to a tabloid reporter. Billings and Carl Stone, the sinister former CIA chief, must reach into their briefcases of cloak. and-dagger tricks to keep Terry quiet. And the ambitious Stone has his own scheme for garnering support for the arms sale. He launches Operation Thunder--a CIA plan to assassinate the president of Egypt. For good measure, he kidnaps D.J. While Stone's wreaking this assorted havoc, the Democratic convention is fast approaching, and desperate members of the First Family hatch last-ditch plots. There's some fun in amusing if cartoonish minor characters here (e.g., the long-suffering Elaine's sex-hungry best friend and her flamboyant twin brothers). Scattered allusions to real-life newsmakers and events, but, overall, a tired and vaguely hysterical fantasy.